Wooden model toy of a human jaw with a missing tooth on a pink studio background

From causing bone loss to affecting how you eat and speak, missing teeth can adversely affect your oral health. Approximately 2.2% of Americans aged 35-49 have no teeth, while around 26% of adults over 65 have fewer than eight teeth remaining.

Problems Caused By Missing Teeth

Missing teeth can cause more than just a gap in your smile. They can cause various issues that affect your oral health, physical health, emotional well-being, and appearance.

1. Eating Problems

Missing teeth can make it challenging to eat. Depending on the location and number of missing teeth, it can be difficult to bite and chew certain foods, like raw vegetables and fruit or grilled meat, affecting your ability to maintain a nutritious diet.

2. Speech Issues

Speech is also affected when teeth are missing. The position of the teeth and tongue is crucial for proper pronunciation, and missing teeth can lead to slurred speech, whistling, or difficulty enunciating certain sounds. This can impact your confidence when communicating with others and affect your professional and social life.

3. Shifting Teeth

Teeth can shift or move when a missing tooth leaves a gap. This can cause other teeth to become crooked or misaligned, leading to bite problems and potential issues with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

4. Bone Loss

When a tooth is missing, the jawbone in that area may deteriorate. This is because the tooth root stimulates the bone tissue to regenerate and maintain its strength. Without this stimulation, the bone may weaken, affecting neighboring teeth and even altering the appearance of the face.

5. Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

When a tooth is missing, neighboring teeth may shift and become misaligned, creating hard-to-reach spaces that are difficult to clean properly. These areas can trap food particles and bacteria, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Missing teeth can also cause the remaining teeth to bear more weight, resulting in increased wear and tear, potentially causing more dental problems like enamel erosion.

6. Early Aging

Missing teeth can also contribute to early aging, as tooth loss can affect the structure and appearance of the face. Teeth provide support to the surrounding tissues, including the cheeks and lips. When teeth are missing, the surrounding tissues can collapse, creating a sunken or sagging appearance and making you look older.

7. Compromised Mental Health

People with missing teeth may feel embarrassed or self-conscious about their appearance, causing them to avoid smiling or socializing. This can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression, affecting their mental health and overall well-being.

Studies have shown that people with missing teeth are more likely to experience depression and anxiety than those with a full smile.

Treatments for Missing Teeth

There are several treatment options available for people with missing teeth. The appropriate treatment depends on the number of missing teeth, their location in your mouth, the underlying cause of tooth loss, and your oral health status.

Common treatment options for missing teeth include:

1. Dental Implants

Dental implants provide a natural-looking, permanent replacement for missing teeth. While the implant is designed to last a lifetime, restoration can last between 15 and 20 years before it needs to be replaced.

Implants involve surgically placing a titanium post into the jawbone to support a replacement tooth or bridge. The post stimulates the jawbone, preventing bone loss and maintaining the facial structure.

2. Dental Bridges

Getting a dental bridge means placing a false tooth or teeth between two dental crowns, which are placed over the teeth adjacent to the gap. Bridges can replace one or more consecutive missing teeth and prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting out of position.

3. Dentures and Partial Dentures

Dentures are a removable option for people with missing teeth, replacing either a few or a full set of teeth. Dentures can be either partial or full, typically made of acrylic resin or porcelain.

They are a simple, non-invasive way to replace missing teeth, but they may require some adjustments and maintenance every five years.

Regain Your Smile With Valley Dental of Plainfield

Valley Dental of Plainfield offers exceptional dental services, including missing teeth treatments to protect your teeth and maintain optimal oral health. Contact us at our Plainfield location (815) 436-6800 to book your appointment.

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Are you ready to improve your oral health? Come visit our office in Plainfield to get the best in preventative and restorative care. With just one appointment, you’ll find yourself on the path to your perfect smile.

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